On Tuesday night at Fenway Park the Boston Red Sox became the first Major League Baseball team to clinch a spot in the playoffs with a 7-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Brock Holt’s pinch hit home run knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh for Boston.
Chris Sale started the game and pitched one inning in his first start since being placed on the disabled list. Sale gave up one hit, hit one batter, and struck out two before inducing Randal Grichuk into hitting a pop out to end the inning.
The Red Sox, under the helm of first year manager Alex Cora have baseball’s best record at 99-46. Boston is assured of playing in a worst case scenario the wildcard game in the American League. This is the third straight season the Bosox have reached the postseason.
The team celebrated in the clubhouse with a champagne toast.
Manager Cora told reporters that the team was in a very good position to win the American League East and then continue on to better things.
Prior to the game Cora said that Sale, who pitched for the first time since August 12, would pitch just two innings or a maximum of 40 pitches while he is recovering from inflammation of his left shoulder.
As it turned out, Sale threw just 26 pitches before being replaced to start the second inning by Brandon Workman. Following his one inning stint, Sale went to the Boston bullpen where he threw a few more pitches.
Nathan Eovaldi relieved Workman to start the third inning and pitched for 3 2/3 innings giving up three hits and two runs, which served as his audition to take the long reliever role for the Red Sox during the postseason.
Boston is currently leading the AL East by nine games over the second place New York Yankees with just 17 games remaining in the regular season.
New York leads the race for the two AL wildcard spots by two games over the Oakland A’s and 10 ½ games over the Seattle Mariners.
The Cleveland Indians hold a comfortable 15 ½ game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, while the Houston Astros are three games ahead of the second place Oakland A’s in the AL West.